Micah 5 - Outline of Micah (Book Notes menu page)
This chapter is the third section of Micah's second message, which was directed to the leaders of Israel.
1. Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops:
he hath laid siege against us:
they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
[yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.
Now... gather thyself in troops... he hath laid siege against us...
From the note of victory in the closing verses of the previous chapter (4:11-13), the prophetic view turns again to the judgment which was about to befall the nation... a calamity from which they would not escape. The city would be besieged and taken by Babylon (3:12; 4:9,10).
     At first glance, the opening words sound like Israel is being advised to defend themselves against the invading army of Babylon. But the words 'gather' and 'troops' (from the same Hebrew root word) refer to marauding bands of enemy soldiers, which would become so pervasive as to prevent the conduct of normal activities, even before the siege of Jerusalem (2Kin 24:1,2).
     This disruption would so characterize the nation, that she could be called 'the daughter of marauders,' or 'the daughter of affliction.' No doubt, the threat of marauders would cause the people to move from the countryside into the walled city of Jerusalem. But their gathering would not prevent their captivity, for the judgment was determined by God (Isa 8:9).
...they shall smite the the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
This phrase, which has two applications, forms a bridge between the impending destruction and their future deliverance.
  • In the near term, 'the judge of Israel' refers to Zedekiah, the king of Jerusalem, who was taken captive and tortured by Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon (2Kin 25:1-7). This phrase was a final warning to the corrupt leaders of the nation.
  • In the more distant view, it refers to the Messiah, the King of the Jews, who was rejected by His people, and smitten by the Gentiles ('they'). See Mat 26:67; 27:30; Mark 15:19; Joh 19:3.
With the fall of Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings had apparently reached its end. Yet, God had promised David that his seed would occupy his throne for ever (2Sam 7:12-16; Psa 89:3,4).
     Likewise, with the rejection and crucifixion of the King of the Jews, the hope of the Messianic Kingdom was apparently dashed (Joh 19:19). But God says: "Yet, have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion" (Psa 2:1-6).
     Do you hear the echo of Psalm 2:6, in Mic 5:2? "But... yet..."
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah... Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel...
In the land of Israel, there were two towns named Bethlehem. Therefore, two names are used to identify the birthplace of the Messiah, as the Bethlehem, located about four miles south of Jerusalem. This little town was also known by its older name, Ephratah (or 'Ephrath,' Gen 35:16-19; 48:7). (The other Bethlehem is well to the north, in the region belonging to the tribe of Zebulun, between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean.)
     Bethlehem was the ancestral town of king David. The Jewish scribes recognized Bethlehem as the place from which the Messiah would come, based on Micah's prophecy (Mat 2:1-6; also Joh 7:42).
...shall he come forth unto me...
This Person from Bethlehem would come forth, as the One appointed to fulfill the LORD's purposes (Joh 17:4; Heb 10:7).
...who is to be ruler in Israel...
The corrupt leaders of the nation (Mic 3:1-f) would be replaced by this One, who would rule in righteousness and true justice.
...whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
This righteous ruler will be no mere man, because He has been eternally active. This ruler would be the everlasting LORD Himself, who would become a man at Bethlehem. Observe the identity of this ruler in Micah 4:1,2,5,7,13 (also Jer 23:5,6).
     The deity of the Messiah is clearly presented here, as in many other passages. For example:
  • Joh 1:1-4 - Being equal and inseparable from the one true God, in His eternal pre-existence, presence and power, He is the Creator of everything and the Giver of life.
  • Isa 7:14 - The son born of a virgin is 'Immanuel' {'God with us'}. The virgin birth was the means by which the everlasting God became 'incarnate,' in human flesh (Joh 1:14). Through Him, God teaches us about Himself, and about His purposes in the world (Joh 1:18; Heb 1:1-3).
  • Isa 9:6,7 - He was a 'child born' unto 'us' (to the Jewish people, and to the human family). He was the 'Son given' by God to save mankind from destruction in our sins, so that we might live with Him in righteousness (Mat 1:21-23; Luk 2:11).
The power of God to fulfill His Word was demonstrated by the Saviour's birth in Bethlehem.
As foretold by the prophets, the Jewish people were taken captive by Babylon and dispersed among the gentile nations. Seventy years after the fall of Jerusalem, they were partially restored to the land (as Jeremiah foretold). But their captors had repopulated the land with other ethnicities. The kingly line of David was included in the dispersion, from which some would never return (Jer 24:8-10). But, by the time of Jesus' birth, some of David's descendants had settled in Nazareth. Only the LORD could have orchestrated events, and moved the hearts of kings, in such a way that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Luk 2:1-7), and that a multitude of other seemingly contradictory prophecies would be fulfilled perfectly (eg., Mat 2:15,18,23).
3 Therefore will he give them up,
until the time [that] she which travaileth hath brought forth:
then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God;
and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
Therefore will he give them up, until the time...
'Therefore' points to the cause for which the LORD will temporarily 'give up' His people. In the light of the prophecy that a ruler of Israel would come out of Bethlehem, the 'therefore' refers back to His rejection and smiting, at His first coming (v.1b; Mat 20:17-19; Luk 18:31-33). Following His resurrection, He returned to the One who sent Him, 'until the time...' (Joh 16:28; Acts 1:6-11).
...until the time... that she which travaileth hath brought forth...
That is, until the LORD's judgment upon Israel will come to its conclusion at the end of the Tribulation period. (See the Book Notes at Micah 4:9-10.)
     Israel's travail has two aspects...
...then the remnant of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.
The Remnant of believing Jews {'brothers' of Christ according to the flesh} will be re-united. Members of all twelve tribes will be regathered from the dispersion. There will no longer be a division between the northern and southern kingdoms. They will become one nation of Israel, under their Messiah at His second coming (Isa 11:10-13; Jer 31:1,7-9).
He shall stand and feed {ie., 'tend' as a shepherd}...
At present, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, awaiting the time (Psa 110:1; Heb 1:13). When the time comes, He will arise to shepherd the flock of God, which had been so mistreated by the 'shepherds' (political and religious leaders) who preceded Him (Eze 34:7-16; Joh 10:1-18).
...in the strength of the LORD {the ever-living One}... in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God...
This Shepherd stands against all enemies, in the unlimited power of God,
and in the 'majesty' {ie., excellence} of God's Name {ie., the character and attributes of God}.
...they shall abide...
His flock, will be at peace, in His care, never to be uprooted or troubled again. Mic 4:4,5
...He shall be great unto the ends of the earth. Mic 4:1-3; Psa 22:27; 72:8; Isa 49:5-8
5 And this [man] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land:
and when he shall tread in our palaces,
then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword,
and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof:
thus shall he deliver [us] from the Assyrian,
when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
...this [man] shall be the peace...
The word 'man' was supplied by the translators. The word 'this' refers back to the 'ruler' who will come forth from Bethlehem (v.2). Peace will not come through any earthly rulers. But the Messiah Himself will accomplish, establish and maintain peace for His people. Psa 72:7; Isa 9:6,7; Eph 2:14-17
...when the Assyrian shall come into our land... he shall deliver us from the Assyrian...
When the Assyrians threatened Jerusalem, at the time of the captivity of the northern kingdom, king Hezekiah prayed and the LORD delivered the city. Some scholars think v.5 refers to that deliverance. However, at that time, Israel did not attack and destroy Assyria, or the the cities of Nimrod, as foretold in v.6.
     In the context, this must refer to the deliverance which will be accomplished by the 'ruler who shall be the peace,' when the armies of the Antichrist invade Israel at the end of the Tribulation period.
     Isaiah applies the title 'the Assyrian' to the Antichrist. In Isaiah 14:9-20, the fall and judgment of Satan is described. Note that Satan is also referred to as a 'man' (Isa 14:16), for he will indwell the Antichrist (Rev 13:1,4). The passage goes on (Isa 14:21-27) to describe the final destruction of 'his children' (the human powers which Satan inspired to do his bidding)... including 'Babylon' and 'the Assyrian' (who is spoken of as a man, 'him... his', Isa 14:25). (Observe that the personal pronouns 'him... he' are also applied to 'the Assyrian,' here in Mic 5:5,6.) The LORD says that "the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth" involves the eradication of the Antichrist and all participants in Satan's rebellion (Isa 14:26,27).
...then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men...
As in Mic 4:13, the LORD will strengthen Israel to take part in the destruction of their enemies.
These 'shepherds' and 'principal {ie., anointed} men' will be the leaders who govern Israel, under the Messiah's authority, in that future day (Zech 12:6).
     The formula 'seven... and eight...' indicates that Israel's forces will be sufficient, and more than sufficient for their role. ('Seven' is the number of completion or fullness. One more is more than enough.)
     Not only will Israel be delivered, but her enemies will be completely and finally destroyed. Israel will see very clearly that 'He' (the Ruler from Bethlehem, who is the Peace), not they, accomplished their deliverance and victory.
7. And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD,
as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
...a dew from the LORD... as the showers...
Dew and showers provide refreshment and life to otherwise parched land. This refreshment is the LORD's doing. If it was dependent upon men, refreshment would never come.
     In the millennial Kingdom of Christ, the believing Remnant of Israel, will refresh the nations as the LORD's representatives, declaring Christ as King, and speaking of His glories. Compare Deu 32:2-4; Psa 72:6; 110:3,7
8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people
as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep:
who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
...as a lion among the beasts... as a young lion among the flocks...
In the millennial Kingdom of Christ, Israel will be dominant among the nations. They will again become 'the head and not the tail' (Deu 28:13; Mic 4:7,8).
     As representatives of the LORD, the King who rules with a rod of iron, they will exercise retribution upon those who refuse to submit to Him (Psa 2:8-12; eg., Zech 14:16-19).
10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD,
that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no [more] soothsayers:
13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee;
and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
...I will cut off... out of the midst of thee...
In the Kingdom of the Messiah, the LORD will purge Israel of...
  • their self-confidences - ...horses... chariots... fortified cities...
    Rather than trusting their own military might or defenses, they will rest fully upon the LORD. Isa 31:1; Psa 20:7-9; Zech 9:10
  • their false religion -
       They will abandon the worship of false gods, to serve the LORD alone.
I will execute vengeance... upon the heathen...
When He comes to establish His millennial Kingdom, the LORD will exercise unprecedented judgment upon the unbelieving nations, to avenge their mistreatment of His people. Joel 3:2-8; Mat 25:31-46; 2The 1:4-10; Mic 4:3; Psa 2:8,9; Rev 19:19-21

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